- By Borja Lasheras
Translated from Spanish by James Badcock
The hall is packed as people wait expectantly for the arrival of the bard. We snaffle a couple of free seats, surrounded by the young and not so young who pay us no mind as they gaze intently at the black curtain. This theatre was once one of the Jewish centres of Chernivtsi, a cosmopolitan cultural capital in western Ukraine, part of northern Bukovina, and a city which annually hosts the Meridian Czernowitz International Literary Festival. After a little while, Serhiy Zhadan, described by Marci Shore as “the Bard of eastern Ukraine,” appears alongside two guitarists to a rapturous welcome from the crowd.
With his sharp features, dressed all in black with half-mast trousers and a sweatshirt, his hair shaved to a...